Northamptonshire Police has launched a new rural crime campaign that could lead to ‘parish constables’ being appointed in every countryside village in the county.
At an event held at Moulton college today (Friday), Chief Constable Adrian Lee and Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds outlined their vision to help to reduce crime, and the fear of crime, in rural areas.
Mr Simmonds said he had listened to the frustrations of people in rural areas who were concerned about the length of time it took for emergency services to respond to 999 calls and who felt there was a lack of specialist knowledge about countryside issues.
In a bid to increase interaction with people in rural areas, a website - Rural Action - has been launched where people can get crime prevention advice and sign up for text and email alerts about crimes in their area.
Northamptonshire Police also aims to make greater use of special constables to patrol the smaller towns and villages in the county.
Mr Lee said that, depending on the number of volunteers who wanted to become specials, a ‘parish constable’ could be installed in every rural town or village in the county.
He said: “It is more difficult to detect rural crime as there is no CCTV and no instant response to help officers catch the criminals.
“We want to have a lot more visibility in rural areas. We want parish constables who are trained to police in their own community.
“I want people in rural parts of Northamptonshire to be reassured we do listen to them and understand their concerns, so I welcome the benefits from further engagement and seeing rural communities benefit from some of the changes we’re making, for example the significant increase in the Special Constabulary.”
Mr Simmonds said: “This campaign is aimed at offering vital reassurance to rural communities, to make sure they feel they have the support they need from the emergency services.
“Our pledge to people in rural areas is to keep them informed of what’s going on in their area, to become more visible in rural area and to give them the opportunity to talk to us on a regular basis.”
Mr Lee said the force was also considering using special constables to implement a similar system when responding to emergency incidents that the fire service adopted with retained firefighters.
The chief constable also said trials were due to start later this year of an fire and police ‘integrated initial response vehicle’ which could result in police officers and firefighters travelling in the same vehicle to get to a 999 call.